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NZ and Chile to collaborate on conservation issues

27 June 2008 Media Release
NZ and Chile to collaborate on conservation issues

New Zealand and Chile have agreed to work together on new conservation projects, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick says.

“This week I have had a number of very positive meetings with Ana Lya Uriarte, the Chilean Minister for the Environment, and we have agreed on a collaborative project that will determine the numbers of the unique Chilean dolphin and its conservation status,” Steve Chadwick says.

The cooperation follows last week’s recommendation by the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) Scientific Committee that a comprehensive survey was needed.
The Minister outlined New Zealand and Chile’s growing conservation cooperation at an event at the New Zealand Residence in Santiago, Chile last night.

“The project is expected to begin this summer and will be led by Chilean scientists, with New Zealand scientists from Otago University providing technical expertise in the design and implementation of the survey,” she says.

“The Chilean dolphin is a very close cousin of Hector’s dolphin. New Zealand has extensive experience in surveying Hector’s dolphin populations, and we are very pleased to be able to offer technical expertise to Chile to carry out similar work.

“Those surveys have been vital to our understanding of the distribution of Hector’s dolphins and enabled us to implement effective threat management measures to improve their long term survival prospects.”

The Ministers also agreed that New Zealand would share other conservation experiences including New Zealand’s international expertise in pest eradication, and development of the Coastal Policy Statement.

“This cooperation furthers New Zealand’s enduring relationship with Chile, and follows last year’s visit by 18 Chileans, who studied our process for establishing marine protected areas and marine mammal sanctuaries. It is also another concrete example of the work being undertaken within the P4 Environmental Cooperation framework.

“New Zealand has a close relationship with Chile and both countries face similar conservation issues. We place a very strong emphasis on the protection of our rich natural environment, so we welcome this opportunity to share our experiences with Chile.”

ends

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